Competition Policy Review Panel Report misses the mark, says CFIB



    OTTAWA, June 26 /CNW/ - The Competition Policy Review Panel report
released this morning ignores half of Canada's economy - small- and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by recommending policies that would hurt
rather than help the engine of Canada's economic growth.
    CFIB and its 105,000 independent business members' support measures aimed
at increasing Canada's competitiveness, and some of the panel's
recommendations are consistent with CFIB's views on this front. However, CFIB
is alarmed that some of the Panel's recommendations would do the opposite and
may actually hurt the ability of Canada's SMEs to compete within Canada and
around the world.
    "Including these recommendations illustrates a complete lack of
understanding of this important source of job creation and wealth in Canada,"
said Garth Whyte, CFIB's Executive Vice-President. The problematic
recommendations include:

    
    -   Removing the de facto prohibition on bank, insurance and cross-pillar
        mergers of large financial institutions subject to regulatory
        safeguards,

    -   Suggesting that provincial governments assess the feasibility of
        allowing any municipality to levy a one percent value-added tax
        within their jurisdiction, which would be collected by the CRA (or
        revenue Quebec) on behalf of the municipality,

    -   Recommending that provincial and federal government SME policies
        should focus only on those firms that demonstrate the desire and
        capacity to grow to become large enterprises.
    

    The report also provides only a narrow scope to the issues surrounding
the shortage of qualified labour - one of the fastest growing issues facing
Canada's SMEs. While recommendations on post-secondary education and
immigration are welcome, it does not go far enough to addressing the labour
needs, such as skilled trades, confronting Canadian SMEs over the next several
years.
    "Although CFIB strongly supports the need for a comprehensive competition
policy for Canada, any such policy should not hinder SME growth, but build on
the strength of this sector that employs 60 per cent of Canadians and produces
almost half of Canada's GDP," concluded Whyte.

    For a full copy of the report visit www.cfib.ca.

    CFIB is Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized
businesses, representing more than 105,000 business owners who employ
1.25 million Canadians and account for $75 billion in GDP.




For further information:

For further information: Marie-Danielle Davis, (613) 235-2373


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